Tuesday's sporadic snow flurries and biting 40+ mph northwest winds gusts are history. But it's hardly time to break out shorts or swim trunks. Temperatures Wednesday are to continue below normal another day, but with reduced winds here.
Wednesday's winds are to blow at one quarter to one-half Tuesday's velocities. That should act to make the predicted low 20-degree Wednesday high not quite as frigid feeling as Tuesday's afternoon teens and sub-zero wind chills.
It's the first snow season in 27 years to reach Feb 20 without a 3"+ snow; only 8 on the books since 1884-85
The city's remarkably anemic seasonal snow tally of just 10.9" is only 40 percent normal! Even more striking is the fact Chicago has yet to record a single 3" or greater snow anytime this season---the first time in 27 years we've made it to Feb. 20th without at least one 3" snow.
The heaviest single city snow on the books during this lackluster 2012-13 season is a 2.7" accumulation which occurred here Feb. 3-4.
28 states on alert as the biggest Plains snow-producer of the season takes aim at Nebraska and Kansas; local 12"+ snows threaten
Chicago's failure to see a 3" snow yet this season may change Thursday night if developing forecast trends continue. The instrument of change would be a huge winter storm currently crossing the Rockies. The sprawling low pressure is expected to produce more than a foot of snow over an impressive swath of Nebraska and Kansas, potentially extending east into Iowa and northern Missouri. As this system lifts toward the Chicago area, accumulating snow capable of changing Chicago's snow fortunes is possible Thursday night.
The storm has prompted weather watches and warning across 28 states. For most areas of the central Plains in the path of this system, the heaviest snow of the season appears to loom.
Best early estimates of possible Chicago snowfall: Around 4"
Though hardly as prolific a snow-producer by the time it reaches the Chicago area Thursday night, the then-weakening storm system may still lead to a fairly significant snowfall here.
Model projections vary, but an average of estimated accumulations out of a suite of forecast models suggests an accumulation approaching 4" may not be out of the question Thursday night into Friday. Such a snow would be the season's biggest to date in the city.